PSGs Neymar reacts during the round of 16 of the Champions League between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain in Dortmund on Tuesday, February 18, 2020. (AP Photo / Martin Meissner)
The Parisian Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Edinson Cavani were clearly in a festive mood, bare-chested and panting for joy.
But they hadn't just won the Champions League.
The video of a party in Paris on Thursday evening to celebrate the birthdays of Cavani, Ángel Di María and Mauro Icardi in February caused a stir after it was released on social networks.
PSG trainer Thomas Tuchel was shocked to see this.
Not least because the party came two days after a 1-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their round of 16 in the Champions League. PSG struggled and could have been more difficult to lose.
"I was really surprised by this video (when I saw it) yesterday afternoon, as (how you behave). Really surprised, ”said Tuchel on Saturday. "You can be sure that we talked about it in the club and it is better if it stays in the club. I would rather not talk about it here."
Tuchel looked clearly disappointed at a press conference ahead of Sunday's home game against Bordeaux. Defense attorney Marquinhos spoke at the same press conference, but separately from his coach, and gave an ambiguous answer. He only criticized the fact that the video was released.
“It is true that publishing such pictures was a mistake. We all agree and we are all aware of that, ”he said. “But it was a birthday (celebration) that was planned before the game. It was not connected to the result. "
Marquinhos believes the players had the right to let off steam, but says he understands how fans reacted to seeing unbridled joy so soon after a poor performance.
"We have to tell our fans that they don't lack respect or anything," he said. "We have to be careful because there are people who live for the club, travel miles for the club, are disappointed and do not leave their homes (after a defeat). We were also very disappointed and sad."
It didn't look that way on the video.
Neymar dances up and down after recently returning from an injury while Cavani swirls his shirt over his head as if he were going to win the Champions League final.
Neymar embraces Cavani and goalkeeper Keylor Navas in an emotional hug. The players show their dance movements and then all pose on a group photo.
It smelled of an unwanted déjà vu.
Two years ago, the PSG players filmed themselves in wild party mode at the beginning of February at Neymar's birthday party. It was two days before a national game and not long before the first leg of a round of 16 in the Champions League against Real Madrid. PSG lost both legs and went out.
The club has called for a far more disciplined approach this season. Neymar's 28th birthday party three weeks ago was more discreet. The players left their phones in the cloakroom so nothing could be posted online.
They forgot to put them away on Thursday evening, and so Tuchel and the hierarchy of the club saw everything.
"It was a day off, yes. It was a private life, yes, ”said Tuchel. "But we are not satisfied with this party image. I was very surprised. "
There also seems to be a growing division between Tuchel and his players.
After the Dortmund game, Neymar struck in the club because he had prevented him from three previous games. The Brazilian said he had recovered sufficiently from a rib injury to be able to play.
Tuchel, who was insulted by Kylian Mbappé after he had recently dropped him off in a league match, had to defend the club's stance on Saturday.
“It was a discussion between the doctors, the club and me, the trainer. Imagine we let him play and the injury got worse and he went out for three months, ”said Tuchel. "We would face the same questions, no? After a result (match) you cannot say that it is a mistake. You have to think about why we are making the decisions."
Tuchel criticized the attitude of his players in the Dortmund game and said that they were "too afraid of mistakes".
That stung Marquinhos.
"Did he say that we played with fear? To be honest, I don't want to comment. Fear, I don't think so, ”he said defiantly. “We have players who have won the Champions League, some who have won the World Cup. You can't tell me that such players are afraid to play a match. "
Against Dortmund this seemed to be the case and after PSG had not reached the quarter-finals in the last three seasons, PSG is under great pressure for the second leg on March 11th.
"We have to react in the field," said Marquinhos. "Otherwise it'll be the same old talk, the same excuses."
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